Taking a lead from Margaret Edson's Wit, Donald Margulies' Dinner with Friends and Moisés Kaufman's The Laramie Project, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches/Perestroika, the Tony winning plays by Tony Kushner, will find their way to the small screen via television's Home Box Office.
HBO Films has announced that it will produce a six-hour miniseries based on what were, perhaps, the most celebrated plays of the nineties. Tony Kushner's epic works, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches — which opened on Broadway May 5, 1993 — and Angels in America: Perestroika — which made its Broadway bow Nov. 24, 1993 — were awarded Best Play Tony Awards in, respectively, 1993 and 1994. The first half of the theatrical tour-de-force, which took a passionately penetrating look at AIDS, religion, family, sexuality, spirituality and politics, was also awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Drama.
When it opened on Broadway, the stellar cast of the "Gay Fantasia on National Themes" included Ellen McLaughlin as the Angel, Ron Leibman as Roy Cohn, Stephen Spinella as Prior Walter, Joe Mantello as Louis Ironson, Marcia Gay Harden as Harper Pitt, David Marshall Grant as Joe Pitt, Kathleen Chalfant as Hannah Pitt and Jeffrey Wright in a variety of roles, including the former drag queen Belize.
Wright, who won a Tony Award for his work in Perestroika, is the only original Broadway cast member who will appear in the HBO production. Wright, HBO has confirmed, will join an equally stellar company for the filmed version. Already lined up are Al Pacino as Cohn, Meryl Streep as Hannah, Emma Thompson as the Angel, Mary-Louise Parker as Harper, Ben Shenkman as Louis, Justin Kirk as Prior and this season's Oklahoma! star, Patrick Wilson as Joe.
Angels in America will be filmed on the east coast. The shooting schedule has yet to be announced, although an spokesman for HBO said shooting is imminent. Originally directed on Broadway by Tony winner George C. Wolfe, Mike Nichols — of The Graduate fame — will direct the television version.